Middle School

8th-grade2Saint Matthew’s Middle School includes grades 6-8. Students rotate among teachers for all their subjects. The school uses the curriculum provided by the Diocese of Richmond. Click below to see the site.

Diocese of Richmond Curriculum

A number of electives are offered to middle school students. Click here to see details.

Each of the subject areas in the middle school are designed to challenge and inspire the student. The mathematics program is multi-layered and each student is placed into an appropriate group based on academic achievement, standardized test scores and teacher recommendations. There are 5 levels of math offered to 6th graders and 4 levels offered to 7th and 8th graders. Students can be moved within levels depending on demonstrated proficiency. Details are below:


Mathematics

Over the past twenty years, the math curriculum in the middle school has evolved from teaching basic math concepts to all students to one that offers a multilevel program based on a student’s math ability and past performance. The curricula are consistent with the Diocese Consensus Curriculum and in keeping with the highest standards required to prepare students to meet the challenges of high school. Today, students who are identified in elementary grades as possessing high math ability can advance in math course work to take Pre-Algebra in sixth grade, Algebra I in seventh grade, and Geometry in eighth grade. These students are tasked with a very challenging math curricula that is fast paced, includes some algebra II topics, emphasizes the solution of complex word problems, and incorporates the use of graphing calculators. Students must satisfactorily complete the Richmond Diocesan Algebra exam to receive Algebra I credit. The Geometry course is the same course taught at Bishop Sullivan High School (BSCHS) where students must take the final exam. The highest-level advanced math program (5-8) is taught by an accredited secondary school educator.

Our second advanced math program (6-8), starts with sixth grade students taking an advanced general math course, followed by Pre-Algebra, and Algebra I. The students in this program are also high achievers, but do not demonstrate the same math ability as the first group.

Our third math program is designed for mid-level students who require a slower approach, more reinforcement activities, and smaller class size. This program consists of a general Math 6, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra curricula.

A remedial program is also provided for those students who require more individualized instruction. These students complete Math 6, Math 7 and Pre-Algebra. Students are selected for these programs based on class performance, standardized math test scores, and teacher recommendations. Students may be shifted from one program to another dependent on demonstrated academic performance. The math programs cover concepts ranging from basic math operations to solving/graphing quadratic functions and writing geometric proofs. Word problems are used to develop higher-level critical thinking skills and various problem-solving strategies.

St. Matthew’s offers 4 levels of math at each grade level in middle school. Students groupings are determined by a number of factors including: grades, standardized test scores, teacher recommendation, maturity level and parent input. As the school year progresses, if a student is determined to be misplaced we have the ability to move up or down a level as appropriate.



The middle school also offers a number of electives:

Drama (Mrs. Graham)

Middle school students can take the drama elective which gives them the opportunity to get a taste of “the theater” in a classroom setting. Students spend time the first few classes experimenting with an actor’s most powerful tool, his or her voice. From there we move to pantomime, where students use their bodies to dramatize an event or activity. Finally, the combination of voice and action enriched by props allows the students to be a part of a mini theater production right in our classroom!


Cross-Training (Mrs. Lilley)

Billie LilleyMiddle School students in 7th and 8th grade can choose to participate in an extra physical education class. This class is composed of ten 7th graders and ten 8th graders working cooperatively together. The students are divided into stations consisting of various aerobic and anaerobic activities. Students are taught how to find their target heart rate and how to maintain that rate while working out safely. This is a per-semester elective.


Chorus (Mrs. Alberto)

Middle School Chorus is for 6th – 8th grade students interested in beginning or continuing their musical education journey. They perform for school functions, and other performances such as Christmas and Spring Musicales and Choir Festival, held annually, in March. They will learn basic vocal techniques, music theory, sight reading, and performance etiquette. A variety of literature is covered, ranging from popular, jazz, classical, contemporary and sacred choral styles.


Band (Mr. DeVoe)

Duane DeVoeWe welcome students who want to learn how to play a musical instrument by playing throughout the week and performing. Your children will learn the language of music in order to play different styles of music throughout the year program. Membership in the ensemble requires a desire and commitment on the part of the student to sacrifice for the good of the total ensemble. This includes time for rehearsals, individual playing, meetings, and adopting the attitude that places the needs of the group on par with that of the individual. It includes parent/guardian support and encouragement for their children to play on a regular basis and to support any performances. We participate in the Virginia Beach All City Band program and the Virginia Music Educators National Conference District II Honors Band/Orchestra and Solo/Ensemble Contest.


Guided Meditation (Mrs. Tabin)

The guided meditation elective provides a sacred environment for middle school students to experience a moment of quiet and stillness. Many studies have shown numerous benefits of incorporating a meditation practice in children’s lives. Through meditation, 6th – 8th grade students cultivate a lifelong capacity for greater self-awareness, concentration, patience, and resilience. Students learn how to manage their own energy through breathwork exercises and develop skill sets to help them stay centered and grounded throughout social and emotional challenges.


Sign Language (Mrs. Rubino)

Sixth grade students can take the sign language elective which will give them the opportunity to learn about the deaf culture and about basic sign language. Students will be able to sign the alphabet, the numbers 1-20,  and simple vocabulary words, such as animals, family, school, jobs etc.  They will also learn to sign the Pledge of Allegiance, The Our Father and The Star Spangled Banner.  Lastly, we will talk about the importance of interpreters and watch them at work.


Sewing (Mrs. Carbaugh)

Middle school students can take a sewing elective where they learn different sewing terms, tools, and how to operate a sewing machine. Each year we make a different project: we have made a drawstring bag, quilted binder cover, patchwork pillow, and are currently making a microwavable bowl and placemat. We have 10 donated sewing machines, so I can have 10 students. There is a kit fee of $20 that includes the fabric, instructions, thread, and any equipment needed to complete the project. We have a great time!!


Photography (Mrs. Sheehan)

Students will learn the history of photography along with understanding different types of camera equipment, basic rules of picture taking, and how to manually control their camera. Students will learn to find their own creative eye by exploring different techniques and challenges that come with learning the art of picture taking. We will experiment with DSLR cameras, cell phones, and tablets. Once students understand the basics rules of photography, we will touch base on photo editing using different apps, Photoshop, and Lightroom.